Captain Jason

The latest news on the recover of Jason after his injury in Iraq by an IED.


Snail Mail:

Cpt. Jason Scott
WRAMC Building 20
Mologne House Hotel #316
6900 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington DC 20307

Phone: 202 577 0092

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Lakota Sioux Sundance Dedicated for Jason's Healing

I have been in SD south of Rapid City since June 14 staying in a cabin owned by Dow's cousins Loren and Gloria. A friend in Chicago had told me of a Sundance on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Reservation in central South SD about 3 hours from where I am staying. Jane a Jungian analyst knew friends were attending the Sundance and invited me to "stop there" and see if I would want to particapate as this four day Sundance was for healing.

Personal Disclaimer:
This entry is a report of my physical, emotional, spiritual experiences and participation in a Sundance ritual for Jason's healing of mind, body and emotions. This is a "rough draft" of the experience as I know I will ponder its impact again and again in the future. I do believe that G-d is everywhere: in whom we live and move and have our being. We and all creation are born, live and die in G-d. I begin to write this reflection the morning after a quiet drive from the Sundance through the Badlands. I was told to "stay grounded" after experiencing the day of Sundance. Driving in the quiet across the National Grasslands of SD with the setting sun before me enabled me to do so on Thursdsay. This entry is my recollection of the information given to me by the Jungian analysts, dance leaders, and family members who were present and participating in the Sundance rituals. Any mistakes are due to my faulty memory. This is the first time that I have ever attended a Native American ritual. I am including the details because I assume that almost all of the readers of Jason's blog have not had the opportunity to attend a Sundance.

Jungian Analysts
These are my thoughts and reflections as to why Jungian analysts were deeply involved in the Sundance ritual as I have been in Jungian analysis for 8 years. Carl Jung was Freud's pupil who broke with him and focused his own life's work on studying " "the healthy person" One of Jung's important pyschological insights is that we are all born with patterns of behavior: mental, physical and most importantly pyschological. (DNA research is now revealing that at least 50% of behavior is inherited) These patterns include a relationship with God, in Jung's term the Self with a capital S. Jung called the expression of these patterns archetypes. We are all born into a culture, religion, ethnic group etc. These will "shape" the expression of the archetype of Self into different outwardly rituals, prayers, beliefs, religions, etc. It is important to realize that the source of the search for God and the expression of the relationship is the same, the archetype of Self within each of us. In Jungian insight every soul is female and women have an innate ability to connect with the Self for this reason, women are feminine in soul and gender. For men, the journey inward to God is more difficult for the guide to the Self comes most clearly as the feminine, the anima.

I think for Jungian analysts the desire to touch the Self and experience an exploration of the human relationship to God outside Europeon Western religion and culture would be an imperative. This is exactly what Jung did in his travels looking for the patterns giving rise to the lived religious life of the world's indigenous peoples.

The Setting
The Sundance is being held on the property of Florentine's Lakota Sioux Grandmother's property. Found after much searching and asking by taking a drive turning at a closed wooden RC church named St. Rose. Grandmother foretold Florentine "doing things" down there. "There" being a meadow below a hill, lower bluff (location of parking, kitchen, and sleeping tents) and below an open space, I would call a meadow. From the camp of the Jungians about 10 steps were cut away in the dirt of the bluff leading to the back of the dance area and a guard rail installed. The day was perfect, cooler under the trees with the camp on the bluff and very warm in the dance area. Blue sky with clouds abound providing shade intermittenly during the dance rounds. About 200 persons attend the dance over the four days.

The Sundance is held at this location once each year, it is the Florentine Sundance, named after the lead dancer. The dance has been held at the site for 13 years. The Sundance is situated in the center of a circle. The circle being formed by shade arbors, once covered by pine boughs now covered with plastic tarp to keep from cutting trees each Sundance. Within the circle created by the arbors, an inner circle is created by foot high red sticks each hung with a tobacco offering wrapped in a red cloth. There is " a gate" marked by two higher white sticks in this circle in the direction of the South, North, East and West. The gates/color of directions are also the four colors of humanity: red, white, black and yellow. For the Lakota the East must not be crossed during the dance so it is blocked off with tape and noone either dancer or audience can cross. The Lakota believe that all energy enters the Sacred Circle through the east and must not be transgressed by a human.

The Sundance Days
This Sundance lasts for four days. It is offered for personal and community healing of the tribe and especially the intentions of those who participate. It is open to outsiders and many whites were present. The Sundance consists of rounds of dance lasting 30 to 40 minutes with about 45 minutes of break in between from about 6 to 6 PM. The dance has drummers, very large with about 4 drummers to the drum and a number of singers. The musicians change during the day. No jewelry or glasses are to be worn if you are dancing, nothing that sparkles is allowed in the circle. No photography, audio recording or notetaking is permitted. No one except the lead dancers can go near the tree except when one makes a flesh offering. Between dances the leaders may speak about the dance, or share personal stories of meaning or teaching about the dance and Sioux spiritual life. There are no watches or program schedule so the pace flows at a natural progression and changes can be made as necessary by the leaders.

The Days:
1. The 30 foot poplar tree is decorated with the prayer flags of each of the dancers. Bundles of tobacco and flesh offerings are also tied to the tree. The tree is set in place with a liver of a buffalo at the base of the pit, the Sioux being dependent on the buffalo for their individual and communal life. The tree (male) is thrust into the Earth (feminine). From earth and sky all life comes and the tree symbolizes the connection of both; all of creation including humanity. It is painted ochre the color of Indian skin. The flags are large pieces of cloth, red white, green, blue. At about 6 feet a series of flags encircles the trunk and covers the flesh offerings tied in red 1 1/2 inch bundles also encircling the trunk.

2. The second day is dedicated to the Sacred Pipe of the Lakota Sioux. On my arrival I was told there would be no body piercing today. I was glad as I had great reservations in my ability to watch this part of the ritual. Fred told me something akin to this, "It is not torture but a ritual that connects the dancer more closely with all the suffering of humanity and the evolutionary suffering of all creation itself." (It was very good to have a Jungian as a guide to the Sundance. Fred and his wife Karen have been coming to the Sundance for 20 years. this was the day I attended the Sundance)

3. The third day all the dances are dedicated for healing. I was not present for this day.

4. The fourth day the tree and all ceremonial items are taken down. The flags are given to community members for making of blankets. The tobacco from the bundles is smoked "releasing the community's Sundance prayers to God." (I am sorry I do not know what is done with the flesh offerings. I assume the offerings are disposed of respectfully.)

The Dancers
The dancers come from several groups. The men wear red skirts and decorated beaded belts. The women wear long red dresses and skirts/shawls with fringe. No jewelry or glasses can be worn. One group are the four Lakota Sioux leaders including a woman from the Women's Group. Another group is the male dancers from the tribe itself. There are women dancers from the tribe or friends. Some of the dancers were white and came from Germany and Italy. Some were Vietnam veterans. Two dancers were pierced, one in his back and one on his front. These men were tethered to the tree during the dances by ropes connected to their body piercings. The men controlled their own movements either tightening or loosening the ropes as they danced on the ground opposite of each other with the tree in the center.

Flesh Offering
An individual may choose to make a flesh offering. This offering is a "symbol of the gift of myself for and a joining in the suffering of and a prayer for the other." Because of the time it takes, an individual may make between 1 to 4 flesh offerings. I chose to make a flesh offering for Jason's continued healing of mind, body and emotions.

I was escorted to the arcade by Nancy after a morning dance and was met by Fred who takes the flesh offering under sterile conditions. It is a small piece of flesh about 1/4 inch and just deep enough that the wound bleeds. I chose the right shoulder as Jason's right arm is amputated. I was given the Indian pipe (belonging to and used by Fred) to hold and pointed toward the west "The beginning direction for the Sioux" I held the pipe, closed my eyes and began to weep in sorrow for Jason's wounding in combat. Fred said, "Pray to the God you know for Jason's healing, while I do this." "It is done." I opened my eyes and on a very small piece of red cloth, about 1/4 long was my flesh. A patch of sage was placed on my wound to stop the bleeding and the 1 1/2 inch square bundle tied with string.

I was taken to be smudged, a woman was by the outside entrance to the dancer's arbor with a can of burning pine/sage. She held the can and I "purified" myself by moving the smoke over my body with my hands. Previously before the offering I had purified myself with steam. Two young men watched a large bonfire that kept rocks hot. They would pick out a rock on a pitchfork, bring it to you, pour water over it and one would cleanse one's self with the steam as with the smoke/incense.

One of the dancers from Italy, I believe Albert, was to be my escort to the tree. You do not touch the dancers during any of the rituals. He had a hard red bracelet, looking like fabric over wire, that I was to grasp so I did. He led me through the dancer rest area, out to the dance circle through the west gate where we both turned clockwise around and were smudged again with smoke as we entered. He led me to the tree. We were the only persons in the circle. I carried the offering bundle tied with string long enough to let me tie it to the tree. I also carried Jason's album of photos of his healing journey at WR. He lifted up the flags tied to my face height and I tied the bundle to the tree. I said a prayer for Jason's continued healing and was escorted back through the gate and rest area. I was smudged again as I existed the area.

My Introduction to the Community and Request for Prayers
A little later I was told I was to go to the singer/drummer area for an introduction. Jeff one of the analysts dressed in the dance costume made a "formal" introduction of myself and my reason for being here. "Katy has a son named Jason who was seriously injured in Iraq last October. She has come to request our prayers for his healing. Please join in her prayers."

The Use of the Sacred Ceremonial Pipe for Jason's Healing
I returned to camp only to be told, "Come the leaders want you to "load the pipe."" Again I was escorted this time by Karen to a break area behind the dance circle. It was separated off by a tarp. We would be hidden from persons walking through the area. Fred said, "We have not done this before at a dance. This is a special honor." I was to pack the pipe and present it to the four leaders of the sundance. Fred opened a small tobacco pouch, gave me the pipe to hold in my left hand facing west and said we would load the pipe from each of the six directions includes up (sky) and down (earth). I was to pray for Jason's healing all through this"packing the pipe." Fred reassured me that Jason would be healed. I am sorry I cannot remember what he said for each direction. Fred took a twig from the pouch to "tamp the tobacco down." The tobacco was a mixture that included sage-that I could identify.

I would take a pinch of the tobacco, extend my hand in the direction I was told and place in the pipe. Fred would then tamp the tobacco down each time. "Use big pinches" he encouraged me. As I lifted my hand to each direction I could feel power gather and come with the tobacco "into the pipe bowl." It was like holding wind and bringing it into the bowl. Fred added one direction that especially touched my heart. "Gather the circle of elders and all that lives on the earth." I made a circle in the air around me, placed the tobacco in the bowl and felt in the center of the community of believers past, present and future. I was now in Sacred space and time. I was participant and priest.

I was led to the South gate by Karen. She stood at my left, I asked, "Please do not let me do anything disrepectful of the ritual or people." Florentine and Fred and the other dance leaders came through the West gate and approached us. I was to offer the pipe to each person four times. I did so while the drums played and singers chanted. Each person before me was beautiful as I looked at them and they looked away (Indian cultural norm). TheIndian woman head of the Women's Group was dressed in blue, not red. I believe Florentine took the pipe and all the leaders went to the tree. Karen said, "Fred is representing you in the smoking of the pipe." The sharing of the pipe took a few minutes. The leaders/priests were smoking this pipe for Jason's healing.

Then the leaders again approached me for the reverse of the ritual, once smoked the pipe was returned to the giver/supplicant. I cannot adequately describe my experience in the return of the pipe to me, I can only try. Each leader presented the pipe to me 4 times. I felt at one with them and the God of All. I looked at each as they handed me the pipe and thought "Nemaste," meaning "The God in me greets the God in you." I knew each person had joined with me in praying for Jason's healing. I looked at each person overwhelmed by their beauty and their spirituality. I felt deeply saddened that white men had smoked this pipe, wrote treaties and broke the covenants made within the Sacred reality of Indian spirituality. I felt our participation in this ritual had reworked the broken bonds of trust and helped to heal them. I know in my soul, I asked forgiveness for what whites had done to Native Americans. (A unexpected spiritual experience (always a sign that this is not "of Katy's doing." As this ritual is for healing we should not be surprised that healing of memories between the peoples could occur if we are open and seek it.)

I was astonished, awed, humbled as I received the pipe from Florentine and the dancers walked away together. Fred remained behind and took the pipe from me. Karen led me back to the audience arbor.

Introduction by Florentine
In a few minutes Florentine came to the microphone and began to present my and Jason's story to the people present. He spoke in terms of all veterans and their service to the country and how we should honor them. Most emphatically he emphasized that this "white woman, white mother from Chicago found us to ask our prayers for healing of her white boy injured in Iraq." I was not offended by these terms but understood them to mean that I was an outsider who respected the power and spirituality of the Lakota Sioux and was sincerely asking for their help. I wanted to join with them as we prayed together for Jason's healing.

Then Florentine told us, "I may be out of order, but my grandmother used to sing a blessing for the men before they left for war. I would like to do this for this white mother and her son" Then he sang this beautifully haunting chant. I felt deeply humbled that Florentine would do this for Jason (and brings tears to my eyes again as I remember offering). Florentine spoke about all the tribal members who were present and were honored as serving in the military. He dedicated the next dance for Jason and myself, for our healing and for all the veterans who were present.

Karen said, "We must give an offering to the drummers and singers" she went and returned with money that I pressed into the hand of Francis the leader of the drummers.

The Sundance for Jason's Healing
Karen and I went to the back of the dancers arbor to be smudged and wait to be called to the circle. We would peek through the cloth walls of the arbor and see who was being called to the dance. First the leaders, then the vets were placed in front of the west gate about 8 in all, then the men, the women and then friends of dancers. As we stood more vets would come and quickly be smudged and enter the dance circle; the word was spreading that the veterans were to be honored during this dance.

Finally I was called to the circle. I entered holding one of the leader's, named Scott, eagle wing ties of brightly tanned deer hide ribbons. We turned in the center of the gate and were smudged again. Scott led me to the tree to pray again for Jason. This time I carried the photo album of Jason's healing journey at WR. I squatted down at the tree and Scott placed the prayer flags over me. I prayed for Jason's healing and felt surrounded by the leaders. I felt the eagle wings brush my back on the left side and the right side. I stood up and Scott led me back to the circle. I was immediately in front of the vets and the leader sent a woman vet to be on my left, I assume for support and direction. I was very pleased to have her by my side. "Don't worry they will tell us what to do" she smiled.

The drumming and the chant began with strong clear voices and beat. During the dance, the two men were tethered to the pole and both danced with vigor. I felt them connected to the suffering of Jason and all those who suffer from war, especially the veterans who were dancing. Behind me I felt the strong male presence of the veterans who were dancing. I felt them as "buffalo energy" like you see in pictures of horses shaped from the waves of the ocean. The dancers' energy was "formed as the buffalo." I was intrigued by this experience know that the collective life of the Sioux is intricately and intimately connected to the buffalo. Sometimes I cried and blessings to Florentine as he would come to me and wipe my tears with his red hankerchief and give me words of encouragement, "Pray for your son, be strong." All I could say is "Thank you."

Often during the dance, all would raise their arms to the heavens, a gesture I understand as praise. During this time I would hold Jason's photo album with both hands and raise it to G-d, offering prayers for him and thanking G-d for Jason's life. All the colors I could see; the tree and its flags and bundles, the sky and the quality of sunlight, the dancers' clohes and the color of their skin were more alive and vibrant than I have ever experienced. It was as if it were a weaving of prayer and meaning most pleasing to the Universe. I could get lost in the color, my soul drank it in. I do not know how long the dance lasted. We were all led out in reverse order of entrance back to the dancers arbor.

After I entered the shade a reception line formed. All the veterans wanted to meet me and I thought that I should thank them individually. I shook hands and hugged them and thanked them for their service and particapation in the dance. Then the women came and I did the same with all those who wanted to greet me. They assured me of their continued prayers for Jason. Florentine asked to see the pictures and with Fred looked at them. Then he said, "Can't look at anymore." I was escorted from the tent and returned to the camp.

Later Tom told me, "Did you hear, one of the drummers saw a spotted eagle. He flew overhead during the dance. It was a sign." I replied, "It is good, the eagle is a sign that our prayers are accepted as a suitable offering to G-d." I later looked up a "spotted eagle" which is not a species but an immature bald eagle. I was pleased, for me this means Jason's young soul "soars on the prayers we offered for his healing."

When we were in the arbor after the dance, Florentine said, "Please invite Jason to come next year! You come back too." I was so honored that Florentine invited Jason. I pray that Jason and Jodi when they are ready would attend the Sundance and meet their new brothers and community of friendship. May Jason reap the healing and blessings of this Sundance for the rest of his life.

I have no adequate way to express my deepest thanks to Florentine and the Lakota Sioux, for Fred and Karen, for the Jungians, for all the dancers for inviting, for accepting me into the community, and joining with me in prayers for healing.

All I can say is "Nemaste" and Many, many blessings for the journey for each of you and for the Beloved community for we are all one.

Post Reflection especially for Roman Catholics:
I love liturgy and many aspects of the Lakota Sioux religioius ritual awakened in me a comparison with the Roman Catholic ritual of the mass. I was struck because of the archetype mentioned earlier is clearly expressed/experienced in both rituals. In other words Jung is right ;-) Again these are my beginning reflections.

The total sundance is the communal prayer and praise to G-d the Creator. I did not experience a focus on one person (priest). The dance leaders were not alone but always with others and the community within the circle (church) danced. Even those under the "audience arbors" would dance in place, although not all did.

1. The tree in the center, decorated and created by the community. I immediately experienced it as an altar for RC's where sacrifice is offered and the center for communal worship.
2. The flesh offering: we call the liturgy, "The sacrifice of the mass" The Sioux use a very small piece of flesh as an "offering of self for others", as Jesus offered himself for others.
3. The smudging with steam or herbs. For me the natural connection is the signing of the cross with holy water when we enter or exit a church. Also the incensing of the congregation and sacred objects as during Easter service.
4. Offering and smoking of pipe. I experienced the pipe offering to be the Offertory, consecration and communion . The pipe itself is a vessel akin to an incense burner in the Jewish tradition used in the Temple. A gift is brought from the community, is blessed and offered. It is transformed by the smoking of the tobacco from object to prayer. It is given back to the community. For me communion was created in the return of the pipe to me, a representative of the community.
5. When Florentine wiped my face during the Sundance, I felt him as Veronica wiping the face of Jesus on the way to Calvary. I think this act of compassion is at the Heart of the Roman Catholic and Lakota Sioux spirituality and liturgy. I can think of no other greater connection to the Creator of All.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June Chicago Weekend and Update

Jodi and Jason were in Chicago the weekend from the 14 to 17th, I believe the correct dates.

They saw the play Wicked, the movie Omen, a concert in Wisconsin by Jimmy Buffett.
Didn't see them much as they were spending time with Jason's friends and exploring the city.
We walked by Lake Michigan on Monday before I took them to O'Hare for their flight home to FL.

Jodi couldn't get over "Chicago's cold weather" in the high 50's, middle 60's. Made me laugh as Lisa has lived the last 20 years in FL although Midwest born and says the very same thing! Jason and Jodi are now in Scotland for the week and I will report on their trip when they return if they will share with me their Scottish adventures.

Heartland Hospice has requested that I apply for a PRN position so I have returned the paperwork and will reconnect when I return toChicago after the 4th. The Black Hills of South Dakota are very beautiful and I am staying in a cabin owned by Dow's cousin about 15 minutes from Mt. Rushmore, east of Keystone. I climbed Bear Butte sacred site of the Lakota and plan on attending a healing ritual on the Rosebud reservation near Mission this week. I also plan on attending a healing retreat lead by a RC priest this coming weekend.

Please keep us all in your healing thoughts and prayers.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Jason's Health Status as of June 5, 2006

I thought I would give you a "head to toe" overview of Jason's health as he begins his 30 day convalesence leave.
  1. Jason has an "Iraqi spot" about the size of a quarter on the very top of his head. I do not know if hair will grow in it. Jason is optimistic as he has been from the beginning that all his hair will regrow.
  2. Jason's right eye tears often. He will have the MD check as the Docs said there could be a problem with his tear duct. This eye is blind because of the damage to the color cones. His left eye is corrected and he can read and drive; two very important functions for Jason.
  3. Jason has little feeling on the right side of his face. If his right nostril runs he cannot sense it. His taste and smell "comes and goes." He still cannot taste liquor especially wine. Jason seems to be able to "smell the bad smells." Some foods taste good to him like the Outback steak.
  4. Jason's jaw still needs to open wider, so PT still continues to help him unlock the jaw and maybe Jodi can do the "push down" while she is with Jason.
  5. Jason will have to have his hearing and teeth checked as part of the med board process. Neither of these has been checked so far.
  6. Jason's facial skin still has trouble with acne. He is trying cleansing pads at this time.
  7. Jason has not had the opportunity to work with his right arm prosthetic. Jason did take it to Florida and I hope that he uses it daily while on con leave.
  8. Jason's left wrist still has very limited supination, maybe 10%. I don't know if Jason got exercises to do while on leave to increase the ability to turn his wrist. Jodi may be able to rub cream on his three left arm scars to help them heal.
  9. Jason's belly incision was bleeding slightly when he left. Because it is healing without stitches, he has "banks" with an incision opening in the middle where the flesh was unable to grow together. This might lessen in time.
  10. Jason's limp on his right side is much improved. He will really have to work on strengthening his buttock and thigh muscles and "reconnecting the nerves" injured in the IED blast. The PT said it could take up to two years so his work is cut out for him.
  11. Jason bemoans the fact that he "has a belly" and is looking forward to working out. Jason did receive his boxing prosthetic that he plans on using when he returns to WR.
  12. Jason's mind is sharp and his wit quick as ever. Jason's memory is superb. He continues to enjoy movies, books and TV. Jason will meet challenges of reintegrating into the larger world of life and work. I know that he will be successful as I marvel at the miracle of his healing till now. I know that he and Jodi will make many memories together.
Let us hold Jason's continued healing of mind, body and spirit in our good thoughts and prayers. Let us hold this convalesence leave in our thoughts that Jason and Jodi truly will rest and enjoy all that life has to offer. Thank you for your kindness and please keep us all in your good thoughts and prayers and we discover our "new normal" as a family and circle of friends. Let us pray and work for peace so that no other family will experience such trauma of a family member injured in war.

Note on Blog Entries

As Jason is now off and about I will not be writing to the blog as often. I will try to update the blog at least once a week/month if I hear from Jason and his adventures.

Our address in Chicago:
1038 W. Loyola Ave #1
Chicago IL 60626-5206
My email:

Jason will return to Walter Reed on July 4th.
I will also return to Chicago about then.

Week of June 6, 2006: "Katy You Are a Suspected Terroist" and other notes

I had a very good night's sleep at Ron's and was back at WR by 9 AM in order to try and get a plane ticket. Did I ever get to Chicago? Only after a grueling morning in the "paperwork chase." First I had to complete the paperwork to close out my ITO (Invitational Travel Orders) financially. That took some doing because three men sat behind desks in the Finance Office, but only one "computer was working this morning." The sargeant was very helpful once he got into the files and we completed the one page needed for orders from finance in about 30 minutes.

Then back I went the ten minute walk to Family Assistance on the third floor of WR to what the travel officer would do. I met with her waiting with her on the phone with the travel agency used by WR. I decided to call Dow to check on his schedule to see if he could pick me up at O'Hare, he could not. So back I went to the travel officer and we waited again for another 30 minutes on hold with the travel agency. I figure government trips must be a low priority for them. Finally I got a ticket, but assumed incorrectly that it was with USAir as had all the other tickets the family had received.

Before I left the post, I walked the 2nd floor veranda one last time. Encircling the building I breathed in Peace and breathed out Healing alternately I breathed in Healing and breathed out Peace. It was good to leave a blessing for all who work here, minister, patients and family members and friends. May Walter Reed continue to be a island of hope and healing in the midst of war.

So about 12 ish I jumped into the car and headed to National. When I got to National I stood at USAir ticket counter after unsuccessfully trying the quick "do by machine yourself" ticketing. "Sorry Mam, this ticket is for United." Whoops, so on my way to the next counter I go. "I am sorry mam but this E-ticket does not have a ticket number." Thank God! she was a wonderful agent and took my problem under her very experienced eye because I do not know if I would have ever figured it out. She said that United had many problems with errors from this agency. She said it must be very hard on parents with an injured child. Her eyes began to tear as she said, 'My baby has been in the hospital the first year of her life. Travel is so hard." I looked at her with compassion and she courageously blinked away her tears and returned to help me.

The agent had to call the travel agency and once again was put on hold. This time she asked me to hold the phone, she put it on the counter, I moved out of the way of other travelers and "held the phone." After an eternity, the phone responded and the agent heard the ticket number.

Finally...the agent said, "You are buying this ticket on the same day as flying. You are scheduled for "extra security measures." My heart sank through the floor and I could not believe it. For the third time I would be wanded. (I stopped the second you remember by calling ahead to the TSA. I had not called this time because Jason was not with me and I figured I was in the data base with a flag next to my name, maybe that IS why I was wanded.) I went through security, asked to speak to the supervisor, he called his supervisor. "No you cannot take a picture of yourself being wanded." I again broke into tears and was told by the supervisor, "I am a Marine and when I returned to the USA they spit on me. Everyone is wanded, it is random." I said, "It is NOT random as I have been told by the United agent that Homeland Security requires it for same day ticket purchases. My son was very seriously injured in Iraq and I have been by his side for 8 months at WR. Sir, when you wand me, you spit in my face as the mother of a soldier who has been injured in a war I am against as I was against Vietnam." I will write a letter to my congresspeople and let them know for the sake of other parents of soldiers of the indignity and humiliation of wanding. I know the ticketing and security process can be changed. I bordered the plane weeping for all who suffer from war; we are all collateral damage of the soul of humanity.

I got home to Chicago and took a taxi as Dow had advised. The ride cost me almost $60 and the driver took me way south. Usually the ride is under $40. I tried to call the number the driver had listed on his sheet "Sorry this number has been disconnected." I paid the padded fare and went upstairs and collapsed. Dow arrived home later and we went out to dinner.

Wednesday I got up and stood in the kitchen. Not having a kitchen for 8 months, I stared blankly at the room. It was so strange an experience, I was not connected in any way to this room. I made myself think, "I have to eat and cook, what do I need to do?" I began to look at recipes and slowly the process of planning a meal was reconnected in my mind. I went into the dining room where my phone is and could not remember how to use the system to retrieve 25 voice mails. At some point Dow disconnected VM or people stopped trying to call. I called AT & T and thank goodness the nice woman walked me through the process and again with some "help for my memory" the process re-clicked.

In the evening, two other women from the six-flat stopped by and welcomed me home. It was good to see them and hear the latest in the apartment life. Sue asked me to walk with her on Thursday morning as we live in a condo on the beach of Lake Michigan in the very North-East point of the city. I welcomed the walk as a way to "Say 'Hello' to Chicago" again.

On Friday I took Dow to the airport for his long weekend in Tampa Florida with the grandkids. Jason and Jodi would arrive from Florida, the weather was truly Midwestern for Jodi's introduction to the city. Very chilly 60's and blustery with a little sun peeking through. I left a message on Jason's cell saying "Come up to the apartment and get yourselves jackets" but didnt see them. They will tour the city and sleep downtown. Jason and Jodi will come to the house tomorrow to pick up the car to head toward WI and Jimmy Buffett. I think they will need to take blankets for warmth! Of course part of me thinks this is a good way "to prep for Northern Scotland." Get Jodi out of sunny Florida "bit by bit."

I talked to Fran this afternoon and the chemo "did a wonderful job" in reducing her tumors throughtout her belly. The downside, she must repeat the whole three month chemo process again. Her family is coming to stay as she is not in remission at this time. Her MD said that she had every chance of going into remission if she followed the prescribed treatment, if not she would become terminal as this is a very aggressive form of cancer. We gave thanks that she was okay after the treatment so far and asked God to continue to heal her. We said the Lord's prayer together. Nancy and Ken who so graciously gave a Pathfinder to Jason are working with Fran so that her family might use the auto when they visit.

Please keep Fran and all the soldier patients in your good thoughts and prayers. Please keep Jason and Jodi in your thoughts imagining them laughing, enjoying each other, and "cuddling to keep warm" in Chicago. Blessing to you all.

I have been taking naps every afternoon since returning to Chicago. I am sleeping okay but am physically and emotionally exhausted. I began to work out at Loyola's fitness center using the weight machines and that feels really good. As I unpack, I repack to drive the 1000 miles to South Dakota and Dow's cousin Loren's and Gloria's cabin next week (see and click on cabin when you are on the site.) I plan on spending a couple of weeks amongst the beauty of nature to help in my healing from grief and re-creation of my emotional and spiritual strength for the work that lies ahead. Talking to a Franciscan friend Patricia said that visiting a number of years ago, she fell under the Power of Bear Butte and "could not leave." She and her friend spent everyday at the site doing rituals and experiencing the spiritual power in that place. It sounds like a "cathedral of nature." Just what I need.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Up, Up and Away" Uh, Not You Katy, Jason

Ah life at WR, nothing is done until the paperwork is done. And this is true, very true for the Army. Now I have to admit that I have been bamboozled by the paperwork every since I took over from Dow in January. I just got reimbursed for Feb, March, and April because I couldn't figure out the process. Therefore, I knew leaving WR was going to be a challenge for this mother.

I started out by getting up shortly before six so I could be dressed before Jason and I did accomplish that. Jason took a shower, and while he was in the shower I headed down to get the luggage cart so I could load his items and get ready to take them out to the car. I loaded everything and we headed down. Jason told the front desk he was leaving and would return July 4. I am not sure how one gets a room 30 days out, but Jason has to deal with his future quarters. Jason drove to the airport, we said "Goodbye" and he said, "Thanks for everything, Mom." and we gave each other a hug. We had no traffic problems heading S across DC nor did I heading N on 14th this morning. I arrived back at WR about 7:30 and even found a parking space! Good omen thought I.

I headed up to the room one last time, took a shower, ate my last breakfast of Kashi and Starbucks frappacino, packed up what was left, and headed out. Before I left the room, now still and emptied all of a sudden it hit me; I stopped. Almost 8 months had passed, everyday Jason and I were here, or myself when he was in the hospital, it struck me that I would never again return to this room "that had been home to Jason and myself." I sat down on the bed. I gave thanks for the accomodations. I asked blessngs on each person who will stay in the room and healing for all. I gave thanks for the staff who cleaned each day and blessed them in their work. I asked for peace for all who entered room 316 and all of Mologne House. The room filled with peace and I smiled.

I checked the time and it was just about the time that Fran was to go for her cscan. I wanted to spend some time with her as she said she would be alone so I headed to the first floor. Fran was having to drink about a quart of the liquid and was getting nauseasus. She said to me, "When my sister was here she poured some of this stuff out for me and the test went fine." I said, "As chaplain to chaplain, how much do you want me to pour out?" "Till about 200ML"she replied. I said, "Where is the rest room?" I happened to have a sack with me so I popped the container in and excused myself.

Fran thought taking these tests was increasing her suffering and was this kind of preparation necessary? We talked of the Good Shepherd as her image of chaplaincy and I prayed that the Good shepherd would lead her through these tests with "negative" results of cancer for her. Two other patients were also given the bottles and all three commiserated on the taste of the "vile stuff" My heart went out to them all. Fran was told that it would be another hour so I had to leave her then as I needed to begin to "The Great Paperchase" I said, "I may catch you again" but I never got back to see her.

I first headed to the office that handles the monthly updates for non-medical attendant orders. Because I was leaving in June, I needed that in hand to close my account out. It had been signed but not typed. I was to come back tomorrow at 9 and "It will be typed." I then headed to Family assistance on the 3rd floor because I wanted to know about flight times as I assume I will be done with paper work about noon on Tuesday. (So I could easily make a mid afternoon flight to Chicago. I am thinking this timing as that would get me out of the DC traffic madness, worse than Chicago's according to Jason. If not, I will leave early Wednesday like Jason so I again will not have to fight traffic, but I digress.) Well, it was Monday morning and the place was packed with folks wanting to go everywhere. A couple that I had met, their son is going to leave after a week at WR, I thought "a week?" was in checking tickets as they were scheduled to leave at 4 PM. They had come in because when they checked on line, he had a ticket and his wife did not. So they went in first as there was only one person helping this morning.

I spent some time talking to a soldier that was in medical supply at Anaconda and would have been working when Jason went through. He was preparing to go back to his unit that is now stateside but he expects to go back to Iraq as he has two years left on his contract. He said the base was mortared all the time and "sometimes they hit the porta jons." I thanked him for his service and wished him well. He went in before me and spent some time so I looked around and saw Cpt Jantzen whom Jason had gone out with last week. He was planning to go on con leave Wednesday and was checking on his flight. We got into a discussion about the medical equipment he had in his room. I said, "Maybe you can donate it to a free clinic because I don't think WR would want a commode back." We got some info from one of the staff, then Brian remembered, the equipment had a tag that led Bryan to believe it may have been rented. The staff said, "Check with Tricare across the hall." Sure enough Bryan checked and the equipment IS rented so that helps as he can return it before he leaves for his 30 day leave on Wednesday.

Finally it was my turn to check on scheduled flights to Chicago. "We can get you a flight in two hours when your paperwork is done and flights leave for Chicago almost every hour " was my answer. So that was a good enough for me. I should be home later tomorrow ...or Wednesday depending on the paper chase.

I headed to the mess hall for lunch and found three of Jason's Ward 58 RN's having lunch, Thornton, Brown and Crouch. I sat down and we talked about Jason's progress and plans. They are all attending a training program on Trauma Nursing learning the protocols. "Learn, Do, Teach" is the Army method and I think that is a good one. Thornton and Brown will be deployed to Iraq in August, Crouch is getting married next March to a teacher "I met on line." So that's where the 20 somethings go to meet the opposite sex. I wished them all well and headed out to Ron Castaldi's arriving about 2 PM.

Pablo and Cargo were happy to see me, I had purchased a bag of pigs ears for them as a treat. Cargo later got into the bag and "ate them all." He was nice enough to give me the torn sack back! I spent some time pulling weeds and watering the garden in Ron's back yard. Cargo stayed with me and I thought, "I wonder if he would eat red raspberries?" I tried one and he mouthed it but ate it. I tried another and the look on his face was "Keep' em coming lady!" Cargo tried to get them off the bush himself but just couldn't do it. So I kept picking and he kept eating till they were all gone! It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon at "zero speed" relaxing in the sun with garden and dogs and cats all around.

I called Lisa later in the day. Jason had made it, got his car at the Tampa airport, and helped Lisa by taking care of the kids while she took Jonathan to the MD's. Jason will come back later to sort out his stuff in Lisa's garage where it has been stored for about 1 and 1/2 years. They had just finished dinner and Charlie and Jason were discussing politics. It sounds like "The Eagle has landed."

I checked in with Fran and she didn't have to wait too much longer-about 20 minutes; she took the test, then went up to another floor for blood work. She was impressed that the other two folks who had to drink the stuff only took about 15 minutes to do it. I said, "Maybe it is the effects of your chemo that makes it so difficult for you. Fran was feeling so good after the scan that she stopped off at the post Burger King and bought a shake. Getting back to Mologne she found she had "really had a work out" so took about a two hour nap. I am glad the test is over for her and may she rest easy this night. I told Fran that I would call her after Thursday to find the results of it.

I pray that you had a good summer Monday today. May we all rest easy and have good dreams especially Jason, "May Jason dream of his future, bright with hope for great adventures and learning ." I pray that each of you is well, let us continue to send best wishes and pray for Jason's continued healing.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Our Last Day at WR: Pentecost

It is 12:15 and Jason stayed at Dan's for he is not yet back to the room. Must have been one heck of a BBQ. Glad he didn't drink and drive. I attended liturgy for the last time at WR only about 15 folks in attendance but got a picture with all three priests. I was always supported by their ministry and Fr. Thad LTC prof of theology and a Franciscan gave very good homilies. It was good to see Fr. Rich one last time and he said as always, "Jason is in my prayers." Good to have powerful pray-ers for healing and life's work.

I continue to pack and resort trying to get items together so that I can find them when I get to Chicago which will be a monumental task in itself. Jason got back at about 1 and we continued to sort and resort to "get it all to fit." Jason deciding to take this computer, etc. We rested, I washed a final batch of clothes and I asked Jason "What time for dinner?" "About 6"

So off to Chinese in Silver Spring one more time. I brought our leftovers to Fran who will be undergoing a cscan tomorrow morning. She didn't want to eat but asked that I put it in the fridge and she might try it tomorrow. We talked a while and spent time in prayer asking that she be healed and that all will be well with the results of the tests on Thursday. If time permits I will try to catch her in cscan tomorrow as Fran is here by herself.

Jason felt a little warm this afternoon and had some blood on his tummy wound line. Please pray all goes well for him and that Jason will take care of himself "listen to his body's needs for healing" and really have "convalesence" leave. Tomorrow we get up at 6 AM to have Jason at the airport by 7 for check in. Then back to WR for my "paperwork" outprocessing. I hope it goes smoothly and I will be returning to Chicago on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Out pouring of the Spirit/Ruah/Sophia to enliven the human person. I always think of the Spirit as that which touched evolution and created humanity. And so Jesus promised his followers the Spirit again "touching us and making us more human." Gifting each person for the good of the community.

A Spirit filled teacher for me is Matthew Fox, in his newest book "A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity" Matthew outlines 95 new theses for our times. These strike me for Pentecost:
  • Three highways into the human heart are silence, love and grief.
  • The grief in the human heart needs to be attended to by rituals and practices that, when practiced, will lessen anger and allow creativity to flow.
  • Two highways out of the heart are creativity and acts of justice and compassion.

  • True intelligence includes feeling, sensitivity, beauty, the gift of nourishment, and humor,which is a gift of the Spirit (paradox being its sister)
  • Loyalty and obedience are never greater virtues than conscience and justice.

  • The Holy Spirit works through all cultures and all spiritual traditions; it "blows where it will" and is not the exclusive domain of any one tradition and never has been.
  • God speaks today as in the past, through all religions and all cultures and all faith traditions, none of which is perfect and an exclusive avenue to truth, but all of which can learn from each other.
  • Therefore, an interfaith identity or deep ecumenism are necessary parts of spiritual praxis and awareness in our time.
  • Since the number one obstacle to an interfaith identity is a "a bad relationship with one's own faith"(the Dalai Lama), it is important that Christians know their own mystical and prophetic tradition, one that is larger than a religion of empire and its Punitive Father images of God
May the Spirit renew you this day. Let us pray blessings of the Spirit for Jason and Jodi and thier time together. May it be filled with joy and hope and continued healing.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jason and Jodi's Plans for His 30 Days Convalesence Leave

I thought "I haven't let you all know about Jason's and Jodi's plans for the next month."
  • Jason leaves at 8:40 Monday to fly to Tampa and my daughter's home where all his stuff and his car is stored. He will spend a day, sorting and giving away all his "unwanted items" as he did here. Jason will then drive to Orlando and Jodi, about 2 hours from Lisa's. Jason plans to return to WR July 4th with his car.
  • Jason and Jodi will fly to Chicago on Friday "to introduce Jodi to Chicago" They will take a train in from the airport, Chicago River boat tour, stay on Michigan Ave or the Loop, eat out etc. Then they will head toward WI to attend a Jimmy Buffett concert, return to Chicago to see the play "Wicked" which Jason has been trying to see for sometime then fly out on Sunday.
  • The following weekend they will fly to Scotland as Jason would like to see the Orkney Islands with Jodi. Jason has visited Scotland when he was about 12 with his Dad who is Scottish and wants to show the Scottish red cows to Jodi. When Jason visited he really liked them.
  • After they return to Orlando Jodi will start summer school and, I assume, they will look around for an apartment as her rental is being sold. Jodi has one more year of undergraduate studies in college there.
I think this is just the beginning of what their future will look like. May Jodi and Jason lead rich in experiences lives with good health, friendships and laughter all around. Blessings and safe journey.

Katy's Plans
I have to complete outprocessing paperwork on Monday, "closing out my ITO" (invitational travel orders.)
Find out the next steps for the car, possibly returning to Nancy.
Making travel arrangements so I can fly back to Chicago for the first time since October 20th, 2005.

Jason Puts His Socks and Shoes On=Ready for Scotland

Jason slept in and about 9 AM I woke him up because Patrice Gilbert was coming over to do "a shoot" of us both. She is thinking about a project of parents and soldiers. This morning was very cloudy but Patrice said, "Cloudy is better than bright sunlight" She tinkered with her equipment as she has just changed cameras and the shoot took about an hour by the pool and under a tree. Patrice said, "Jason is so handsome." I replied, with not a little pride, "I know that." Patrice as so many others have said, "Jason looks so much like his dad." I said, "I agree since he was, but I claim Jason has my brains and my humor." Jason went inside and we went to a Southern magnolia in the garden now in bloom, my final flower that I will see open in DC. The flower, creamy white, is about a luncheon plate size and absolutely gorgeous. I took my photo while Patrice held the branch and then she took a photo of me with the flower. We said our "Goodbyes" and "See you if you come to DC." I don't know how I will ever visit with every one I have met and have become friends.

I went inside the room and Jason lifted up his right leg with his socks and shoes on both feet! "Ta Ta" he said very, and rightly so, proudly. I had just told Patrice that Jason will have to continue to work on putting on his right sock and shoe as this is the task most difficult for him, the result of the severe wounding on his right buttock. I smiled and thought, "You ARE ready to go with Jodi to Scotland." Let us rejoice and be glad! Jason can now dress himself from head to toe including buttoning shirts and pants. As I have said often on the blog, when Jason shows he has remastered a skill he could once do without thinking, my heart sings ever so much more than when he was learning the same task as a child. Each one is a gift of Jason's life to me and brings tears of joy to my eyes. And I want to dance as David did in the temple.

One last parental conversation, doesn't this sound familiar?
Jason, "I am off to Dan's"
"When you coming back?" (I had planned to ship the rest of the FedEx boxes today.)
"Before midnight?"
"Okay, I'll ship tomorrow."

Off the son went to a BBQ at his best Army buddy's home on the other side of town, driving the car. I thought "Sigh, I'll have to walk for Chinese one last time." I called Fran to see if she wanted lunch but she had just eaten breakfast. I said I would call later to see if she wanted to have a dinner. I did call later but she didn't answer. I hope everything is okay, I'll check in tomorrow.

I went out for one last walk across WR to Georgia Ave and Lucky Ginger fried rice. Mologne has a small DVD library, mostly it has games for Playstation but I borrowed Lost in Translation which I had never seen. When I called it quits on the packing for today, I ate Chinese take out and watched the movie. Bill Murray is good as always. A relaxing way to spend a my last Saturday evening at Mologne. I feel the energy drawn into me by WR slowly being released onto the Winds of Time and it is time to turn toward Chicago and what lies ahead. Jason and I will finish packing tomorrow and I will take the boxes to ship. Dan will come to move Jason's items to his home for storage during the weeks Jason will be gone.

I hope you take many pictures of your summer times with family and friends as we will never return to them again as they are that day. Make happy summer memories to cherish in the years ahead and may they be blessed as my time with my precious son has been. Life is a gift; live and cherish it to the fullest. Peace to you , to your family and friends, and to all the world especially the people of Iraq.

Friday, June 02, 2006

What a Day: This last Friday at Mologne House for Me

Jason was up early to go to PT and have his wound checked. He spent all morning working on getting permission to leave. He had to visit Tricare Health(supplemental to the VA health care system) even though he plans no therapy while on leave. Jason needed to talk to travel and to Med Hold to have papers signed. Jason had to tell someone this morning, 'I am leaving on Monday, even if I have to pay for the ticket myself" before the staff person would sign the paperwork. He was finished about 1 o'clock.

I continued to pack and sort, cleaning out Jason's dresser and nightstand, the bathroom personal items, and the snack box. A lot went to the Mologne table and was gone when I walked by. Tomorrow we re-pack the green box for storage at Dan's. I have small piles of to go there? or where? Jason's gray and green bags are slowly filling up with clothes, and personal stuff. All this to pack up one room for two people. Boggles the mind.

I went to lunch a little after one in the mess hall because we had been invited to the Promotion Ceremony for soon to be LTC Fr. Rich Spencer who visited Jason when he was first in the hospital on Ward 65. Jason was unable to make the ceremony because he was in PT. The chapel was full with Army officers and family, one of which is also a priest serving in the military.

I would like to relate two stories about this RC priest. When the Pentagon was hit on 9/11 Fr. Rich led the men into the destroyed section. The way the story is told, "the old guard soldiers" were in shock. Fr. Rich stood on a box(?) and spoke exhorting the men to have courage and to come to those who were injured and to find the dead. I thought two priests that day lived the Presence of God amidst human-willed destruction. Fr. Michael was doing the same at the sight of the Twin Towers and gave his life in his efforts. Fr. Rich will be returning to Korea for his fifth tour of duty there. On one of his earlier tours, Fr. Rich went undercover for the Army and was part of the exposure and capture of a black market ring which included soldiers.

On a lighter side all the chaplain officers were in awe of his shooting ability on the range. Fr. Rich performed "wonders for the scores of each of the chaplain units" he was in. The chaplains spoke of Fr. Rich being a truly holy person able to minister of those of all faiths and a gift to the patients and the families at Walter Reed while he attended Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) this past year. All spoke that Fr. Rich shortly would be promoted to Colonel based on his contributions to the Army and his leadership abilities. I experience Fr. Rich as one of the most pastoral priests I have ever encountered in my 63 years of Roman Catholicism especially in those dark hours immediately after Jason's arrival at WR.

Jason had received a Outback gift card from Aunt Sue Lincoln. As we were packing, Jason checked his stash of gift cards and said, "Let us use this one!" So off we went to the restaurant out in Wheaton. Jason ordered, I believe, an 8 oz steak covered with Bleu Cheese and ate the whole thing which even surprised himself. (I wasn't as he hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch except for some snacks.) Next to the restaurant is a Tropical Fish store. As we had a 45 minute wait for dinner, Jason said, "Let's check it out."

Ritual for Leaving WR:
I had been feeling a need for a ritual to mark the ending of my stay at Walter Reed as mother, as priest chaplain, and peacemaker. I had also wanted to mark the "new beginning" for Jason as he has completed this intense and most challenging period of his healing and recovery. This time after arriving as a Very Seriously Injured soldier to now planning to spend a week in Scotland with Jodi(leaving two weekends from now.)

During this past week I had a dream through which I do believe the God of Evolution speaks to us as to Jacob and Joseph Mary's spouse. Jason and I together were exiting the elevator into the Mologne House lobby. (I had continually told Jason in the early days, "You will walk out of WR.") Everything in the lobby was normal and the time was day. I knew that behind Jason and I was a roaring fire. The hotel was not on fire.

When I learned that Jason had been injured, I said, "I am being plunged into Hellfire." After almost 8 months Jason and I "are leaving Hell behind us." For Jason the fire of combat and injuries of war and for myself the fire of emotional and spiritual challenges for which a mother cannot consciously prepare. We both have far to go for healing of body, mind and souls(and so have all who have been touched by his life's journey.) We are walking into the lobby where persons check in and out of MHH, crossing the threshold we prepare to re-enter the "larger world" of our lives.

From the fish store I purchased a fish to represent "entering the river of life "once again, especially for Jason. I purchased a koi with a golden head, white body and black spots. Gold representing divinity. Jason and I went out side to the pond that is in the reflection garden behind MHH. It was dark and lightening lit the skies. Jason was talking on the phone to Lisa, I thought of asking him to hang up but I wanted Lisa "to participate as she could" so I did not. I cut open the bag, Jason refused to be the one to release the koi, and the fish slipped into the dark water as I said, "For Jason as you have experienced Hell and now re-enter the river the life of once more." Jason gave me a hug, named the koi Frank and told Lisa he had been living in our bathroom sink for the last three months.

Blessings on all of you who have journed with us these last months through Hellfire. Only knowing you were on the journey with us kept me alive to the experiences of my soul. I am forever grateful for the Compassion of God expressed through your lives, your thoughts, your prayers.

"Bon Voyage" for 30 Days

Jason woke up and headed out by 8:30 to see if he was "ready and able to go." He didn't check in with Dr. Golarz because Dr Wichman got to him first in PT. He checked Jason's wound and declared, "Get the ____ out of here" or something similar in Doctorese. So Jason is finalizing travel permission and plans as I type.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Rain Came Falling Gently

Jason was up a little late and headed for PT. He had his wound checked and the dressing changed. The wound care nurse said, "It is looking very good." Jason will visit Dr. Golarz tomorrow and see if he is ready for his 30 day con leave.

I began processing out myself, turning in paperwork to be "outprocessed" as Jason's non-medical assistant and to return to Chicago. I only need the non-medical attendant orders to apply for my plane trip home. They said it should be ready on Monday as no paperwork is done on the weekend and signatures had to be collected on the June form. While I was walking in WR one of the RN's Lukenbauch who took care of Jason at the very first part of his stay stopped me in the hall. "Ms Scott? How is Jason?" She was very happy that his progress on the road to recovery was going well. She gave me a hug and I thanked her for her care of Jason and wished her well in her career.

I visited with Chaplain Fran who was feeling better today "I kept down my breakfast." Her appetite has not been the best and the chemo has been making her more nauseous. She will have a cat scan on Monday and meet with her MD's for the results on Thursday to plan future treatment. She said that another chaplain is a patient at WR and is undergoing treatment for cancer also. We talked about the possibility of her using the auto that Ken and Nancy loaned us. I left the info that Fran would be interested in using the auto with Nancy and I hope that it works out. Fran's next relative to visit is not to the 17th of June and we are both sorry that I have to leave so soon. She is looking for a walking partner as she does better if someone is with her. Fran believes she can be here as long as another 6 months. We read the Pentecost story together and said a prayer for her healing. If the cancer is in remission she will return to active duty if it is not she will be med boarded out of the army.

We had dinner with Prof Rich Wokutch of Virginia Tech where Dow worked for 17 years before leaving in 1996. We chatted about his own travels and experiences with the military, he has two siblings who have retired/will retire from the military. Rich is now department head and says it has been a challenge as there has been cutbacks in funding. Jason shared about the research on the next generation of prosthetic arms and his participation in the project. We sat outside for a while and talked and had a Starbucks together. It was a very pleasant time together and good to see an old friend and catch up on his family.

Most of my day had been distributing Jason's clothes to:
  • the Mologne house table (this evening almost all, except for winter sweats, were already gone)
  • a duffel bag for Florida (to Jodi's)
  • a box for storage at Lisa's (Jodi will have to move this summer, apartment being sold)
  • a box for storage at Dan's (will use when Jason returns to Mologne)
  • a gray bag for "Scotland"
Jason is looking forward to meeting with Dr. Golarz on Friday to see if he is cleared for "takeoff"to places far and near. I assume that his leave should be approved.

An Interesting Occurrence:
For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, you remember the great "Illinois driver's license" chase earlier in 2006 (with one copy getting fried by the irridation anti terrorist treatment.) Yesterday, we got a call from the front desk, "Package for Captain Scott." So down I go and picked up a FedEx from the State of Illinois containing another newly duplicated driver's license for Jason. So Jason is well licensed for his future travels. I take this as an omen that from now on that Jason will receive double in life's blessings! The Universe is being generous to Jason in his "new normal" (as they say at WR)!

Let us pray that all goes well with Jason's wound check up and he and Jodi's life's travels can begin. Pray that I can get us packed and shipped for a Monday(or early next week) leaving. Pray for the next steps in my own life as I leave WR a changed woman and with an unsure future desiring only God's will for my life, living and working for Peace. I left a message for Lisa that Jason will work out his travel arrangements on the Tampa end as Monday is a "already an overbooked day for me." I contacted Ron Castaldi, actually he called me but I was thinking of calling him all morning. I can stay at Ron's home with the dogs and cats and parrots if need be to sync my travel and leaving as Jason may leave before me. When Jason exits, my presence at Mologne is no longer necessary nor paid for.

As we prepared for bed, the rain began falling gently so the future might grow.